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Hungarian National Minorities: Recent Developments and Perspectives

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Hungary is developing domestic policies that aim to halt the assimilation of its national minorities and, particularly, to help overcome the traditional multiple-disadvantages of the Roma minority. Laws have been passed on the protection of the minorities, the creation of local and national minority self-governments and the office of Ombudsman for National Minorities. The situation of four of the minorities is briefly sketched - Roma, Germans, Bulgarians and Slovaks. A much larger problem in Central Europe is the position of Hungarian minorities in neighbouring states, particularly Romania, Slovakia, and Serbia. During the difficult transition from communism to democracy, from planned to market economy - and coinciding with nation state-building and the re-emergence of nationalism among minority and majority communities - the possibilities of discord have increased. Problems are examined here. Despite this, much has been achieved in less than a decade. The seeds of reconciliation between Hungary and her neighbours are slowly being sown. The ultimate, longer term, solution lies in European integration.


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